The Latest: Sides clash on what led to agent's death

AP News
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Posted: Jan 13, 2016 6:45 PM
The Latest: Sides clash on what led to agent's death

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The latest on the capital murder trial of an Arkansas man accused in the kidnapping and killing of a real estate agent (all times local):

5:30 p.m.

Investigators have told jurors that phone and email records led them to a couple accused in the death of an Arkansas real estate agent.

Former Pulaski County sheriff's detective Drew Evans testified Wednesday that phone records were linked to Crystal Lowery and Arron Lewis' address.

Evans says a phone number with a 914 area code was used to call and text real estate agent Beverly Carter the day she disappeared.

He and other investigators testified that the couple created the fake phone account to set up a meeting with Carter at a vacant house as part of a plan to kidnap her for ransom.

Investigators said the number also was connected to the couple through email records.

Lewis is on trial for capital murder and kidnapping charges. Lowery, his estranged wife, has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and is expected to testify for prosecutors.

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12:40 p.m.

An Arkansas prosecutor told jurors that a man killed a real estate agent when a ransom plan began to fall through, though his defense attorney maintains the death was an accident.

Pulaski County Deputy Prosecutor Barbara Mariani said during her opening statement Wednesday that Arron Lewis targeted Beverly Carter.

Mariani said Lewis and his wife lured Carter to a rural home outside Little Rock and tried to demand a ransom from her husband, but when the plan started to unravel, Lewis killed Carter by wrapping her head in duct tape.

Carter was later found in a shallow grave.

Defense attorney Bill James told jurors that Carter died during a sexual tryst gone wrong, but Mariani says that's a complete fabrication.

The prosecutor noted that Lewis' wife, who has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the case, will testify about how she and Lewis went looking for a married real estate agent so they could demand a ransom from a spouse.

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11:20 a.m.

Opening statements are underway in the capital murder trial for a man charged in the killing of a central Arkansas real estate agent.

Attorneys quickly seated a jury Tuesday in the murder trial for Arron Lewis, who is charged in the death of Beverly Carter, and opening statements began Wednesday morning.

Lewis' estranged wife, Crystal Lowery, previously pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the case and is expected to testify as a prosecution witness. She is serving a 30-year prison sentence in the case.

Carter disappeared in September 2014 after telling her husband she was going to show a house in a rural area near Little Rock.

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6:30 a.m.

Opening statements are planned for Wednesday morning in the trial for an Arkansas man accused of kidnapping and killing a real estate agent.

Arron Lewis is charged with capital murder and kidnapping in the 2014 death of Beverly Carter, who disappeared after telling her husband she was going to show a house in a rural area of Scott, which is about 15 miles east of Little Rock. Her body was found days later in a shallow grave at a concrete plant where Lewis had previously worked.

Attorneys were able to quickly pick a jury Tuesday in the case. Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty.

Prosecutors allege that Lewis killed Carter after arranging the house showing. But a judge has cited missteps from law enforcement and barred much evidence from being introduced at trial — including duct tape and pieces of Carter's hair found in the trunk of Lewis' car.